Dead Love: The Zombie Stampede

Zombie Walk, lurch, march, crawl, shuffle—you’d be amazed how often the zombie underground rises to the occasion these days. In case you didn’t know, zombies gather regularly in seemingly spontaneous fashion all over the world to rub shoulders and other moldering body parts in a sweet communal enterprise that is oh-so-human, because after all, that’s what they are … or were.

Sometimes called a flash mob (zombies can be gathered quickly with a few calls to the group) and sometimes planned, these public gatherings of the walking dead have been going on for about a decade and growing steadily in strength and numbers. Some come dressed for the part. Some are converted to zombies on the spot—hair and make-up!—or along the way. Zombie behavior is generally required: lurch, stumble, groan, maybe (though some say zombies don’t actually say this) moan “brainzzzzz.”

Zombies shamble, stumble and stagger in New York; Melbourne; Edmonton; Pittsburgh, Vancouver; Minneapolis; Brisbane; Chicago; Moscow; Grand Rapids; Seattle; Nottingham; Oklahoma City; Sidney; Ledbury, England, Horwitch, England and more. Records indicate that the first time this happened was in Sacramento, California—no surprise there—back in 2001. Zombies were gathered to promote a midnight film festival. The first true public walk of the undead, however, occurred in Toronto, Ontario in October of 2003 thanks to Thea Munster. Go, Thea! That mob has grown. Pittsburgh set the first numbers record at the Zombie Fest at Monroeville Mall with almost 900 zombies, but Grand Rapids, Michigan, blew that away in 2008 when 4000 showed up for their zombie fest. Ledbury and Brisbane came back with rumored crowds exceeding that number. Then Grand Rapids zombies ruled again with a good 8000 zombies.

I guess it’s clear that the zombie fun and games have gone viral … but hey, isn’t that the very nature of zombies?

Don’t be surprised if one day, when you are firing up that SUV, you find a few pawing at your windows. Wraaawgh!

—Erin Orison, DEAD LOVE/The Daily Slice